Death of leaders a terrible loss for Kenya

Sunday June 10 2012

Another aircrash has claimed the lives of government officials.

Internal Security and Provincial Administration minister George Saitoti and his assistant, Orwa Ojodeh, were killed on Sunday morning when a Kenya Police Airwing helicopter came down in the Kibiku forest in Ngong shortly after take-off from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport.

Other casualties in the ill-fated flight were their security aides and police pilots.

Kenya is united in grief over this tragic accident. It is laudable that many politicians cancelled their campaign rallies on getting the news.

Tragedies such as these often serve to bring out in all moments of reflection and introspection.

They remind us of the frailties of the human body, the very temporary nature of the sojourn on earth, and the unpredictably of the events and occurrences that bring everything to an end.

As Kenyans – and leaders from across the various political divides – unite in mourning, this should be an apt time for some serious soul-searching.

With Kenya already in the throes of early campaigns ahead of the next general elections, this is an opportune time to re-dedicate ourselves to peaceful and mature politics.

It is prescient that Prof Saitoti’s last major public appearance was at the forum on peaceful elections, where he spoke passionately about the need for a political culture that is devoid of the incitement, anger and violence.

This also must not be a time for needless speculation and rumours. Investigators must be given time and space to complete their work.

We hope that in doing so, they will report not just this single accident, but go further to inquire whether the frequency of crashes involving light aircraft and helicopters, and in particular government aircraft, is abnormally high.